Did you know that infants and young children have a higher proportion of body water than adults? As a result, they are more likely to become dehydrated which can impact their body’s ability to regulate temperature, food digestion, and waste excretion. Dehydration can also lead to headaches, poor concentration, painful cracked lips, lethargy, and constipation, which is why correct hydration is so important.
The HSE recommends that children aged 1-3 drink between 900ml to 1000ml per day and children aged 4-8 years have between 1200-1400ml. If your child is active or the weather is hot they may require more than the recommended. It’s also important to note that children don’t always realise when they are thirty so always encourage them to drink in case they forget!
Some of the best fluids for your child are:
- Water – old reliable. Water is an excellent choice as it hydrates without providing extra calories or causing harm to teeth.
- Milk – a great source of nutrients, however, the HSE says milk is used by the body as food so don’t rely solely on milk for your little one’s hydration as it may cause weight gain.
- Fruit and vegetable juice and smoothies – these healthy fluids are full of vitamins and minerals. However, they can contain free sugars and can be acidic which may be harmful to teeth. Give these at mealtimes and dilute them if possible!
- Fruit & Vegetables – Foods that have a high water content also contribute to your fluid intake. Encourage your kids to eat apples, broccoli, cucumber, spinach, melon, and oranges.
For the little ones that don’t like water, add slices of fruit for variety and flavour. Kids are also more likely to do something when they think it’s their idea, so let your kids choose their own drink bottle, or serve in a colourful glass for a bit of excitement. You can also experiment with the temperature, try having water served directly from the fridge, or add ice cubes or even serve it warm! Trust us, they’ll like it one way or the other!